MAQUETTE

At Home. 

London and Belfast, Marcus Ward & Co., [1881]. 

4to, pp. [56]; with a half-title, and a dedication leaf/frontispiece; colour-printed illustrations by Sowerby, colour-printed borders and decorative elements by Thomas Crane, all of the text and the inset illustrations cut down and mounted in place within the borders; in very good condition, preserving the original front wrapper (laid down), bound in contemporary half red morocco with marbled sides, top-edge gilt; ink ownership inscription of Thomas Bumpus with his note ‘(artist’s proofs)’.

£500

Approximately:
US $649€594

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Original maquette for this charming Victorian children’s book, illustrated by the stained-glass designer John George Sowerby and decorated by Thomas Crane, elder brother of the illustrator Walter Crane.  The verse, unacknowledged, is by Eliza Keary (1827–1918).  At Home and its sequels Abroad (1882) and At Home Again (1883) have been described as ‘among the loveliest books ever produced’ (Roger Dixon, in The Oxford History of the Irish Book). 

This copy lays out the (nearly) final design of the work, the verse, titles, ornaments, and illustrations each printed on separate pieces of thin card, disposed within the blank spaces of Crane’s decorations.  The pages are in an early unnumbered state and there are a number of differences from the work as finally published, largely changes in the colours, but on at least one occasion (‘Black Diana’, about a cat) the layout is revised. 

J. G. Sowerby (1849–1914), grandson of the naturalist, was a stained-glass designer and director of the family business Ellison Glass Works.  Thomas Crane (1842–1903), elder brother of the artist and illustrator Walter Crane, was a director at Marcus Ward & Co. 

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